(CN) – Former residents of a Colorado town once ranked among the nation’s most environmentally hazardous sites lost a ruling over radiation exposure, because they couldn’t prove the cause of the alleged disease and death.
The 10th Circuit upheld a judge’s dismissal of the personal injury and medical monitoring claims brought by former residents of Uravan who left when the town was evacuated in the late 1980s.
Uravan is a former uranium and vanadium milling town owned and operated by defendants Union Carbide Corp. and Umetco Minerals Corp.
In 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency placed Uravan on a national priorities list, which ranks the nation’s most environmentally hazardous sites. Uravan’s residents were evacuated, and the last buildings were razed after the plaintiffs filed suit.
Former Uravan residents said they developed diseases or watched relatives die because of radiation from the uranium and vanadium milling and mining. Of the 179 plaintiffs, 27 pursued personal injury claims based on cancer and thyroid disease. The rest sought medical monitoring only.
The district court dismissed the case, and the Denver-based appellate panel upheld that decision.
“Plaintiffs’ personal-injury claims fail for lack of evidence of factual causation,” Judge Hartz wrote. “Plaintiffs’ medical-monitoring claims fail for lack of evidence of a ‘bodily injury’ as required by the Price-Anderson Act.”